Higher Love tackles the dangers of drug abuse in a different way. It is not a story about someone learning something. Daryl Gant is a blue collar worker in Camden, New Jersey. When he finds out his heroin addict girlfriend Nani is pregnant, he decides he is going to find a better life for her and their unborn child. This gripping documentary explores love, sacrifice and the opioid crisis in America.
Director Hassan Oswald’s film is a shocking look at the human condition under severe addiction. This is seen many times in Higher Love based on the decisions people are willing to make. Many of the dealers and customers in the film are willing to commit highly illegal acts even with a camera trained on them. It is sad and difficult to watch.
Oswald does not just show those addicted to drugs, however. Higher Love focuses on Daryl’s struggle to find Nani. This means he is also depicted in his more vulnerable moments. His love for Nani causes him to make questionable decisions. It is in these moments that Oswald’s documentary reaches its full potential. The audience feels strongly for what they are witnessing.
This unflinching look at the issue may turn some viewers away. There is a constant sense of pessimism throughout Higher Love. Daryl prepares audiences for an unhappy ending early on. The finale is as frustrating as it is powerful. This is not the fault of Oswald or anyone involved. It is just a depiction of real life. And that may be the saddest thing of all.
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